The very first round of the Defender Challenge by Bowler race series will be launched on March 2, 2014, as part of the Viking Motorsport/Links Electrical Mid Wales Stages rally event in Newtown, Wales. This new series is managed by Bowler Motorsport and supported by Land Rover and is a United Kingdom-based Defender one-make seven-round rally series.
Contestants were tasked to challenge a combination of hill rallies and stage rallies spread across Mid and South Wales, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire and Dorset. The final round will occur in Scotland in mid-November. Participants could also compete in other rallies in Europe and North Africa alongside the Bowler Works team. The series – created for both experienced and inexperienced competition drivers – is ultimately aimed at providing a path for teams to progress to top rally raid contests like the Dakar and the Africa Race.
All contestants will drive Bowler-ready Land Rover Defender 90 vehicles that have been modified for safety, performance and durability. The modifications include: a full MSA/FIA certified roll cage, fire extinguisher system, racing seats and harnesses, light-weight Bowler wheels, a full Bowler racing suspension system with bespoke springs and heavy duty racing dampers.
The vehicle’s engine was also tuned to 175hp of output and 450Nm of torque. For this year’s series, 15 cars are to compete and each team should participate in a minimum of five of the seven rounds, with their top five placings counting towards the final standings.
Drew Bowler, founder Bowler Motorsport, said: “We’re really excited to get the Championship underway and to begin the journey, which for some drivers, will lead towards Dakar. We’ve enjoyed developing the Defender, and are looking forward to racing at such a great venue with such a strong WRC history, and working with a great organisational team and motor club.” [source: Land Rover]